by Banded Tree™
|This page contains links that connect to sites over
which neither the SCA or The Canton of Wealdlake has any control. It also
contains pictures, which may take time to load depending on your and my
upload/download link speeds.
As well as cooking and food, of which I cannot seem to do without, I also
like to work with wood. I am learning to make furniture pieces in the medieval
style, using both modern and period methods.
The biggest challenge is to make a piece of furniture that both looks
"period" as well as breaks down for transport to events. Events are
either day events held at a school, church or a park, or multi day events held
at a camping area. (click here for our canton
calendar of events). The "RV" of the period was the wagon carrying
your tent, furniture, supplies and yourself. What you brought depended on the
distance you needed to travel, length of the stay once you arrived, and the
space in the wagon or wagons. Additional "vehicles" (wagons,
carriages, horses, mules, ponies, etc.) for people transport was helpful and
appreciated, but there was always your two feet - even for long trips.
This is not so different from today and what we can fit in the car, van,
truck, SUV or attached trailer. This is where the breaking down part comes in
handy. The larger pieces I have made are pegged together. However, not
everything should break down to pack. The supply boxes must be sturdy and not
come apart or the stuff inside will be destroyed. The furniture must be able to
handle the extremes of weather one encounters camping. Here are some links
to wood working sites as well as pictures of pieces made by myself - Banded
I am indebted to my family for putting up with the mess outside as I work on
these projects, and for their assistance in producing the artwork on the
pieces. I craft a piece and sand it ready for decorating. My wife or
daughter then decorates it with wood burning or ink art to add the finishing
touches (see the wolves burned into the Ironwolf table, chair arms and backs,
the boxes, etc.) The piece is then stained and protected with a
"poly" finish. The Banded
Tree™ logo, designed by my wife and daughters and made into a brand
for me ,
gets put on each piece that has passed their rigorous quality standards.
It is not Banded Tree™ until
they give the okay.
An X-chair takes 32 hours, not counting drying time for poly, to make by
hand. The benches of walnut and oak, 8 hours each, the cottage table, 12 hours,
the castle table, 12 hours - all not including drying times for stain and poly,
or about a week per piece with drying overnight between coats. The small boxes
take an hour to cut and assemble, the designs can take over an hour to put on.
These are not quick projects when using medieval methods, so all Banded
Tree™ items are 'gifted' (although some are commissioned for
'gifting' to the person commissioning the project.) However, a project may be
commissioned only if the artisans of Banded
Tree™ are willing to take on the project. There have been a few
items made for sale at the Medieval Village, per
request of the guests of the village. These vary in kind and are limited in
production. The latest were the gaming tables shown below. For those willing to
take on the challenge, the links and books are included below so you too can
build your own "medieval" furniture.
Note: Polyurethane is not a period finish. However, I use outdoor marine
grade polyurethane as it keeps the pieces looking good with a minimum of upkeep
over years of use. These pieces are expected to handle extremes of temperature
as experienced in the hills of Pennsylvania or the summers of Michigan, as well
as the abuse of travel, while being expected to look their best when set up at
the final destination. Durability is a requirement today, just as it was in the
Here are examples of my work to date:
WARNING: To the best of my knowledge, this is not a period design.
This design is for groups or individuals to use to make a portable, easy to store,
easy to make, easy to modify, inexpensive set of tables or benches.
I have been asked to make a storable, portable, durable table for different groups. As
you can see by the animated picture, this table can be made very quickly - in 47
seconds with camera magic! It really takes about 90 minutes to make 4 - 2"W
by 4"L tables. This is a quick and dirty design using power tools, a sheet
of plywood, nuts and bolts and some 2"x4"s. Click here for the picture
by picture instructions.
Period work follows:
A couple of my walnut and oak benches. These are from "rough cut"
walnut with "rough cut" oak crossbeams. The holes for the mortise and
tendon joints were cut out by hand with chisels. The cuts were with hand saws.
The tops were hand planed.
The attempt was to make furniture of a type made by the local woodworkers for
the daily use by the villagers/peasants, using medieval methods, with tools that
although of modern manufacture, are the same designs traced back to biblical
times. This furniture would not necessarily be of the nobles personal
furnishings, but might well be used by the servants in their areas, the villains
in their cottages, etc. In other words, these are the daily use, practical
pieces, not the showcase masterworks you would see in the museums. These are all
of break apart designs so they will travel for camping, as well as from house to
house. A noble might have several estates, but as you see by the time it takes
to make these "simple" furniture pieces, they often had only one set
of household furnishings due to the expense.
A folding or X-chair I made for my wife, Lady Aliyah. The X-chair or camp chair
can be traced back to Roman times, but without the back support piece on this
chair. The best example of an old Roman camp chair is the folding camp chair you
can pick up in the camp supplies areas of department stores and sporting goods
stores. They are made of wood or metal with the canvas sling top for you to sit
on. The chairs were made with many variations throughout the middle ages, with
this variation showing up in the 1100s.
The footstool I made for my wife of walnut. It is basically a smaller version of
For those familiar with the story of
Aliyah and Áindle, this is the bed I made as a result of our marriage (see
pictures in our album.)
The rope is not medieval, but a cotton poly rope that will not rot or mildew as
this is used for camping. A few interesting parts of this bed are from
discussion I had at a Balloonfest demo. There was a man making Viking rope beds
opposite me. So, the small legs are notched and between the rope boards. The
tall legs are also between the rope boards. This is because the tension of the
rope will hold the bed together, so there is no need to peg the legs. The ropes
are held tight by small pieces of wood with three holes. Aliyah made sure she
put her rose on the headboard to show it was her bed. She did concede and put a
banded tree for me on the footboard. Yes, the artwork is by Aliyah.
A "baby box" I made for a friend in 2006, based on designs going back
to Roman times. One feature of this design is the ability to rock the cradle
with one foot without fear of tipping, as the wide rocker bars only allow a tip
of 2 inches. It was a surprise to see WOOD magazine, Issue 178,
September 2007 had a similar cradle on their cover with an article on the Heirloom
Cradle . It is a good representation of this timeless classic, and has the
added benefits of a break down design, a case for storage, with full size plans
of the rockers so you do not have to devise the curve yourself, as did I.
The cottage table I made with oak legs and framing, with a natural walnut top.
This also is pegged together so it breaks down for travel. My wife named it a
cottage table as it is a 4 foot by 3 foot tabletop - just what you would have in
the cottage kitchen.
The folding or X-chair I made from oak for myself. The duck is from my personal
cognizance or heraldic device. These embellishments were put on by my wife and
A castle table I made for the Household of the Company of Ironwolf from
dimensional pine purchased from the lumberyard. This is proof you can produce
furniture that will look "medieval" without having to get "rough
cut" wood. The artwork is the Company of Ironwolf device, recreated here by
with the artistry of my wife and daughter. This was named the castle table by my
wife as it is 6 foot by 3 foot - what you might find in the main hall or at
least in the castle kitchen.
An X-chair with the accompanying milord's bench made for a friend. (The milord's
bench is designed so that her husband can sit at her feet and gaze lovingly and
adoring at his most gracious Lady.) Again, the artwork is designed and burned
into the wood by my wife and daughters for our friend.
is the bed my friend commissioned. This was a bed for her, so it has the
matching artwork to her chair and bench. This bed is a pegged platform bed.
Instead of several boards from headboard to footboard, she requested a few
boards so there would be less to lose. Plywood is used for the platform base.
The bed is all pine for light weight. The artwork was by my wife.
A picture of part of the outdoor furniture set I made for my wife as her
anniversary present - the cottage table, two of the three walnut benches, the 2
X-chairs with the footstool. (The wood in the foreground is for the rope
bedframe for our wedding bed -pictures above.)
Here are some pictures of small boxes I have made. The first is the box for my
wedding to Aliyah on June 24, 1281 (as reckoned by the SCA) at the Medieval
Village Demonstration put on by the Canton of Wealdlake for the Michigan
Challenge Balloonfest in Howell, MI. The design is an original made by my
daughters for their parents wedding (see the Medieval
Wedding website for details). The lining is by my wife. The second was
for the boyfriend of one of my four daughters. These are examples of the over 30
different designs my wife and daughters have made for the boxes.
The Minister of Youth for our Canton (now the Pentamere Minister of Youth)
needed a donation box. She came to Banded
Tree™ and commissioned a box. This has the sliding lid so if
the box is knocked over - everything does not fall out. The design incorporates
the Minister's personal cognizance. The design and wording all are by my
wife and daughters.
My daughter got a wooden flute - but how to keep it safe? She also needed a way
to keep her music standing up -so a box with a lid that works as a music stand
was made by Banded Tree™.
The lining was made by my wife to fit the flute. The lid design looks
Here is Morgan Endstar, a fellow member of House Ironwolf. He is a merchant ship
captain who is a purveyor of "pre-stolen" goods. In addition, he makes
cordials based primarily on rum. To showcase his latest creation, I made a
special box designed to hold the precious fluid. It has a sliding lid that
stores in the back when the bottle is displayed. It also has a clear
Plexiglas pane (yes, not medieval, but glass breaks too easily and safety first)
that also slides to keep hands from removing the bottle until Morgan decides to
allow the bottle to be sampled. It has been able to keep his "prizes"
intact through many pitched "supply acquisition encounters" as well as
show them off on his mantel (or so his stories relate.) It has his initials
burned in by my Lady.
Benches come in different styles - and I have 4 daughters. As you can see here,
I make benches in different styles and sizes (4 of a size that can be sat on by
daughters.) The 3rd picture is a very small bench, the 4th picture shows its
size in comparison to a pair of cat's paws (beware the Imp), and the last is a
grouping of the different benches on this page to give a idea of relative sizes.
The latest addition to my woodworking are the gaming tables. These are tiled by
my wife and daughters. The last two are tables for the Barony with its device
and our canton with its device.
Here is a box for a scribe. The top was done as an illumination scroll by my
wife for Lady Thea de Nes as a thank you for her support of It
Takes My Child To RaZE A Village by providing Illuminated
awards for each event winners.
Sometimes you need a box to carry items...and if it just happens to also hold an
insert that is insulated, so much the better!
Where do I do the work? I work outside when it is warm. Here is the work
table I made for myself and some of the tools I used to make many of the items
you see above:
Artisans of Banded
Lady Alianor bat Asriel (aka Aliyah) - Quality
Control, Project Designer, Embellishment Designer, Woodburning, Ink and Paint
lady Rachel of Wealdlake
Embellishment Designer. Woodburning, Ink Embellishment
lord Steven of Wealdlake
Lady Seadhli ingean Áindle
Embellishment Designer, Apprentice
Lady Bryn Archer -
Embellishment Designer, Apprentice
lady Sarah of Wealdlake (wife
of Jonathan) - Embellishment designer
lord Jonathan of Wealdlake
Áindle ÓDiarmada -
carpenter, project designer
(Yes, it is a family enterprise.)
Links to period woodworking sites (or inspiration for your project) :
of Atlantia Arts and Sciences Furniture links
and Renaissance Woodworking
Liu Ch'ang Settle Table
Project Resource Books used by me (good for techniques, plans) :
The Woodwrights Apprentice, Roy Underhill, The University of North
Carolina Press, ©1996.
Constructing Medieval Furniture, Daniel Diehl, Stackpole Books,
Medieval Furniture, Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly, Stackpole Books,
This page was last updated on 13-Oct-2013 04:44 PM .